Race Etiquette and Pet Peeves

I think that before I ever took my first step in a race, I wanted to make sure that I knew all the ins and outs of race behavior.  I didn’t ever want to be the runner who was fumbling and causing problems for fellow runners on the course.  I wish that other folks had the same accountability.   I also think that some of these not only fit with races, but with running too!  By just making a few little changes, everyone can have an enjoyable run/race experience!

Race Etiquette Tip #1


No one wants to wait in line forever to hit the potty before lining up for the start of the race.  Nothing makes me more crazy than one or two super long lines in front of 5-8 potties.  It seems that it would go quickly that way, but the best option is to make a few shorter lines in front of 3-4 potties.  The turnover rate seems to go faster and it’s less likely that anyone might sneak in front of everyone if we’re watching a few potties vs a half dozen.


Photo through morgueFile by AimeeLow


Race Etiquette Tip #2

Starting Line

There are corrals for a reason.  There is a reason race directors want to have your estimated finish time.  It’s for safety.  There is nothing more frustrating than just starting out and there are clearly people not in the right corrals and you spend half your time weaving and dodging people.  It just wears me out.  I also am conscious not to line up where I shouldn’t be.  In addition to that, treat the course like we’re driving.  Passing to the left, slow going on the right.  It helps when runners can easily pass by without having to yell out “on your left”.


Photo through morgueFile by greenfinger


Race Etiquette Tip #3

Water stops

If you are planning to take water at the water stop, please make your way slowly towards the stop, paying attention to runners as you cross their paths.  Once you grab your water, please stop to see if anyone is right behind you before you stop to drink.  Keep walking until you can safely stop (if that’s your choice) or move all the way off the course even.  Check to make sure no one is behind you before you start back up to a run.

At the same time, if you are not taking water, please stay to the opposite side of the water stop.  Barreling through the water stop and fellow runners is not acceptable.  Also, watch when you throw down those half empty cups of water or Gatorade!  No one wants to get soaked from a thrown cup.  It’s happened to me on more than one occasion.


Photo through morgueFile by mxruben


Race Etiquette #4

Pictures and Spectators

Everyone wants to have some great race pictures!  Although mine are usually awful, I do still cheese it up for the camera.  The idea of the photo opportunity is keep moving and hope the photographer grabs a good shot!  Be conscious of other runners before you throw your hands up or stop for that picture!  Same is true for when you see your family or friends along the course.  Check to be sure that no other runners are in your path before you make your way to high fave or grab a quick hug from your cheer squad.  Cara about got taken out last year in Richmond when the lady in front of us started prancerizing when she saw her hubby.  It’s a lot easier to jump out of the way at mile 2 of a marathon, but at mile 20, we weren’t as agile.


Photo through morgueFile by jppi


Race Etiquette #5

Finish Line

When you roll through the finish line, keep moving!  Stopping to make sure you’ve hit your Garmin stop button is going to cause a traffic jam.  Also, please don’t be the person who barrels through a group of people at the finish line.  I almost got taken out at the end of Flying Pirate last year because two guys decided to sprint downhill like crazy people.  Luckily Nathan was running with me and he pulled me out of the way from their nonsense.  Two seconds off your time is not worth taking fellow runners out.  It’s just not.  Walk through the finish line area, collecting your medal, bottle of water and any other goodies that they have.


Photo through morgueFile by runron


What are your racing pet peeves?  Any suggestions for first time racers?

Look for other bloggers’ racing pet peeves and racing tips over at Tuesday on the Run.

Happy Week!






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27 thoughts on “Race Etiquette and Pet Peeves

  1. Oh yes to Katie’s comment! No matter how the potty lines are formed, I’m always in the wrong one! To that I’d add readjust your race gear outside – you don’t want to be in there any longer than you have to, and no one will mock you adjusting your shorts if you freed up the potty sooner!

  2. That porto potty line gets me too. I’ve noticed that at Disney races there is one line per several potties when you are in the “staging area” but once you get to where the corrals are there is one line per potty. I guess it’s more serious there…haha

  3. Hey! Happy Tuesday! Great tips here!! Race etiquette is so important!! You hit such great points!! Awesome! Race pet peeves? People not starting in the right corrals and people that give no personal space (like literally running on your heels)!!! xoxo

  4. I haven’t done a marathon yet but near the end of my halfs, I swear there’s a good delay between my brain telling me to react to something, and my body responding. I always take rules of the road with me. Stay to the right to let others pass, and look in all directions before merging elsewhere.

  5. You got my attention with #3- unless it’s a color run, I’d rather not wear Gatorade/Powerade. Chances are it will NOT go with my running costume! I’ve been nailed more than once with liquid; blue and sticky is not desirable. Thanks for raising etiquette awareness!

  6. Be nice to others – you’d think that’d be simple, but people don’t do it. I got knocked down in a crowd – a guy stepped on the back of my shoe, causing it to fly off – in the crowd – making me fall & he just kept on going. Really???

  7. I love all of these! At my marathon last Sunday, I was waiting in line for the portapotty and it was getting close to the time when the corrals were going to close. The guy ahead of me was letting everyone from the lines next to us go ahead of him! I finally said, WTH? and he just laughed at me. Seriously? Race corrals? Everyone stuck to them pretty well, but as we ran, we passed a walker with a K corral bib. She must have lined up with the A or B corrals. Seriously? My only other pet peeve was the people who were spitting…please watch where you’re shooting your phlegm…I almost got hit…ick…


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  9. Hahaha. The porta potty one!!!! YES! And the corral issue. Holy geeze, be honest about your time and stay in your corral peeps! Love these! I also can’t stand it when people ON PURPOSE drop their water cups on the course. At least trrrryyyy to throw them off the course and off the pavement. When everyone drops their wet smashed cups on the road it practically creates a slip n slide and I’ve seen numerous runners slip and fall on cups!

  10. I know it’s silly, but I wish the portapotties had lines marked on the grass to show which lines are for which potties. I’m always uncertain which potties my line “owns”! Thanks for linking up with us!

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